From: Exit Staff
18 Iraqi, Syrian Migrants Rescued at Sea by Albanian and Italian Coast Guards

The Coast Guard of Durres and the Italian Guardia di Finanza rescued a boat with 18 Iraqi and Syrian migrants this morning who were being smuggled to Italy.

Albanian Top Channel TV reported that the boat driver Roland Cenko asked for help at about 1.00am, after he experienced troubles with his engine, 12 miles from the coast of Kavaja.

The Coast Guard started search and rescue operations, and were later joined by the Italian coast guard Guardia di Finanza. Several hours later they were to rescue the migrants and at 4.30am they were sent to the Port of Durres. Local media reported 5 women and one child among clandestine migrants, and footage of the operation was broadcast by local TV Ora News.

Police detained the boat driver on charges of human trafficking.

Albania has become a transit point for illegal migrants from war-torn countries, like Iraq and Syria, who struggle to get into the EU.

In May 2019, the European Union deployed its boarder police Frontex to guard the Albanian border with Greece for the first time in the Union’s history.